Determining if a New Technology is Aligned with Your Business Strategy

Joseph
16.06.21 11:52 AM Comment(s)

Technology and Business Strategy Alignment

When evaluating new technology for your business, it is critical to have a firm grasp on your company’s current state and a vision for the future. This level of awareness, coupled with a strategic plan, will play a key role in developing the requirements for any technology considerations.  For example, a low to mid-market shipper is looking to purchase a Transportation Management System (TMS). This shipper has heard a lot about the value of implementing a TMS and how it can help them grow in the space, but there are many software options available. How will they know which TMS to choose? Because a technology implementation can be a large expense, the ideal solution will be the TMS that aligns with their business strategy and can also adapt to meet their business requirements as they grow. To determine this, the shipper will need to identify their current functionality needs.

 

When identifying functional requirements, considerations should extend from the executive business strategy to the end user who is responsible for execution. Quite often the day-to-day challenges that face end users are lost, or not considered when evaluating (and implementing) new technology.  Businesses should consult their front-line users and middle managers while discussing any new strategic technology initiative.  This ensures that the top-level vision aligns with solution capabilities for the end user to execute effectively.  Many people refer to this as a “bottom up” approach.

 

When reviewing day-to-day operational needs, the minutiae can derail an entire strategy. Take for an example, a multi-provider Supply Chain Execution (SCE) solution being implemented across TMS, OMS and WMS. The OMS receives the orders and sends them to the TMS to be optimized for parcel, LTL and TL shipments and routing, which is then sent to the WMS to be picked and packed. However, due to the way the warehouse is setup for pick and pack, their workflow and integration dataflows have to be matched to the existing infrastructure. If not, there will be an immense level of location level change in infrastructure and workflow changes that is unnecessary. Capturing this level of requirement in the evaluation and planning phase is critical to confirm solution capabilities and the proper data flows. Without a substantial understanding of this flow from front-line users, the project can easily be derailed. 

 

Once the current functionality requirements from the executive level to the end-user are met, businesses should then compare the technology’s offerings to their projected future state.  If a shipper currently only requires LTL functionality, but plans to incorporate TL in the future, does it make sense to invest in a technology that can only support LTL?  We will discuss this in further detail, as we continue our deep dive into topics of consideration when making a business software selection.